EZG reviews The Genius Guide to Gruesome Undead Templates
This pdf is 11 pages long, 2/3 of a page front cover, 1 page SRD/editorial, leaving su with 9 1/3 pages of content, so let’s check this out!
Undead are some of my favorite creatures – but let’s face it – even mhorgs become laughingstock after having their behinds handed to them by the players a couple of times – enter this pdf. And we actually don’t get basic templates just slapped on – instead we kick this pdf off with some interesting notes on templates and CR-assigning (an art rather than a craft) – furthermore, templates presented herein actually increase AC, HP and saves as well and they also come with a set shock value – that increases their fear-based abilities (if applicable) or may result in foes being shaken: Essentially a take on Fear ratings and similar horror-themed rules subsystems. And then, there are DCs to modify base-creature lore to find out about the respective templates – as well as weaknesses. Yes, weaknesses.
Take for example the Carrier creature: After an expertly-written fluffy intro-text (if only all templates had there), we get the modifications – Shock Value 1, +2 CR. +30 Hp, +3 to saves, cold resistance and the carrier may spread disease (depending on undead CR) and spray infectious pus from its lesions. As a weakness, it can be severely damaged by remove disease-spells. If by now you haven’t figured it out – these templates BREATHE horror and Ravenloft-style gaming – and thus pull at my heart-strings.
Beyond the Carriers, we also get a template for flayed creatures, fungal undead, living dead with gaping mouths (sharp teeth and deafening screams…), the broken-boned Racked and the sinister Whispering undead- the silent hunters that can say your name to hold sway over you – chilling, cool and high in concept indeed – and no, I’m not going to spoil their abilities – you’ll have to buy this to find out!
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to SGG’s 3-column full color standard and the artworks are full color/b/w from different artists and adhere universally to a high quality, but not a uniform style. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.
Owen K.C. Stephens is mostly known for his mastery of crunch – and it shows in these awesome templates (of which we should get a ~200-page length book imho). But: What this pdf also displays is that he is a master of concise, evocative prose as well! Awesome ideas, cool templates, vivid prose – nothing to complain apart from that I immediately want so much more of these templates! Final verdict? 5 stars + seal of approval!